Receiving the news that your aging loved one has a limited life expectancy is one of life’s most difficult events. No matter how prepared you think you may be for the diagnosis, learning that hospice is the next step can take your breath away. However, while hospice is never easy, many people find that it offers a positive approach to dealing with end-of-life matters. Here are some tips for making end-of-life care easier to handle.
Spend Time Together
Pull out boxes or albums of old photos and go through them together. Talk about memories of vacations or stories of relatives pictured. Ask about the stories behind some their possessions. Make a video or audio recording where you ask about “how things were in the old days.” You can also spend time pampering them with a manicure or massage or just by applying cream to hands, arms, legs, and/or feet. Read a magazine article or favorite book out loud. What you choose to do isn’t as important as the fact that you are just spending time together, even if that time is in silence.
Keeping a journal or diary can be very helpful in the healing process. You can express feelings you might not be comfortable sharing with a friend. You can also record thoughts that you may later wish you had written down to remember and relay to others. Writing letters may also help with the sorrow you may be feeling. You can write to your loved one who is dying, expressing your thoughts and later read it or keep it for yourself.
Try a Holistic Approach
Several holistic therapies help with anxiety and grief, including guided imagery, meditation, art therapy, music therapy, massage, and Qi Gong or Tai Chi.
Whether it is organized religion and prayer, communing with nature, or simply listening to music that is meaningful, any of these can help you to create emotional balance during this time.
We deliver hospice care to patients of all faiths and backgrounds in a private residence or apartment, nursing home or in an assisted living residence. Also available are hospice-care suites on our campuses. Contact us today for referrals and all questions.